Prominent evangelical Christian minister Rev. Billy Graham passed away Wednesday at his home in Montreat, N.C, Fox News reports.
The influential preacher, who served as a spiritual adviser for every US president from Harry Truman to Barack Obama, was 99.
Graham suffered from ill-health for a number of years. He regularly appeared on lists of the “Ten Most Admired Men in the World.”
The public relations firm DeMoss Associates told Fox News Graham died of “natural causes.”
In the 1960s, Graham associated himself with civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., whom he bailed out of jail. Graham made an effort to racially integrate his rallies, refusing to preach to segregated audiences.
Both he and his wife were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in 1966.
Graham was especially close with presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower and Lyndon B. Johnson. He presided over graveside services for Johnson’s in 1973 and spoke at Richard Nixon’s funeral in 1994.
In 2001, Graham led a prayer service at the Washington National Cathedral following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Graham, the author of 33 books, began his ministry as a Southern Baptist clergyman in 1939. His evangelism took him to every continent except Antarctica.
According to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Graham had a lifetime audience of nearly 215 million people in over 185 countries and territories.
In his later years, Graham suffered from Parkinson’s, which limited his preaching. The evangelist was hospitalized in November 2011 for the “evaluation and treatment of his lungs.”
In 1983, Graham received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Ronald Reagan. He was also bestowed with an honorary knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II in 2001.
Today we mourn the loss of Rev. Billy Graham. In 1983, President Reagan awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, honoring him as “an American who lives first and always for his fellow citizens.” pic.twitter.com/1pVOPVgjbw
— YAF (@yaf) February 21, 2018
Ruth Graham, the Christian leader’s wife of 64 years, died in 2007.
Graham’s son, William Franklin III, commonly known as Franklin Graham, is expected to succeed his father as head of his ministry.
Graham famously said: “My one purpose in life is to help people find a personal relationship with God, which, I believe, comes through knowing Christ.”
A number of public figures, including President Trump, mourned Graham’s loss and expressed admiration for his life of service.
The GREAT Billy Graham is dead. There was nobody like him! He will be missed by Christians and all religions. A very special man.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 21, 2018
Billy Graham's ministry for the gospel of Jesus Christ and his matchless voice changed the lives of millions. We mourn his passing but I know with absolute certainty that today he heard those words, "well done good and faithful servant." Thank you Billy Graham. God bless you(2/2)
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) February 21, 2018
Deeply saddened by news of death of Billy Graham, greatest man of our time. I’ll be on @Varneyco at 945et on @FoxBusiness and @AmericaNewsroom on @FoxNews at 10:10am and will discuss. #heavenwelcomesBillyGraham
— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) February 21, 2018
RIP Billy Graham, a good and faithful servant. He fought the good fight, finished the race, and kept the faith.
— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) February 21, 2018
With great sympathy for his family and gratefulness for his teachings and a life well lived, we remember Reverend Billy Graham. We are all God’s children and we go forward never losing our faith.
— Anthony Scaramucci (@Scaramucci) February 21, 2018
“The Christian life is not a constant high. I have my moments of deep discouragement. I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes, and say, 'O God, forgive me,' or 'Help me.’”
— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) February 21, 2018
Just got the word that Billy Graham has passed at the age of 99
What joy there must be in Heaven this morning as this good and faithful servant enters into the joy of His Lord.
You were one of a kind Sir and this world will not be the same place without you.
— Charlie Daniels (@CharlieDaniels) February 21, 2018
If ever there was a fitting verse. Matthew 25:23. RIP Billy Graham.
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) February 21, 2018
God raised up Reverend Billy Graham as a servant to raise up the rest of us. He has now called him home. Reverend Graham’s spiritual life & influence will continue until He calls us all home. God has Blessed us all with the life of Rev. Graham. RIP
— Steve King (@SteveKingIA) February 21, 2018